Vendors vacate private property

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Parliament View Mall relocated to disputed ‘Dread Shop’ site

By ShemuelFanfair

Days after the owner of the plot of land South of Parliament Building ordered the removal of vendors using the location to ply their trade, the former Stabroek Market Square vendors have been relocated yet again, this time to another plot opposite the Island Snackette in Stabroek, Georgetown. This plot of land had housed the former “Dread Shop” which was demolished last year by City Hall in the midst of an ongoing dispute. Over the past few years, there has been a tussle between City Hall and the Public Infrastructure Ministry over the land’s ownership.

Nevertheless, when this media house visited the soon to be defunct Parliament View Mall on Saturday, the final vendors were seen packing up their belongings to obtain places at their latest relocated spot. However, one seller in the vicinity, whose move was also ordered by City Hall, alleged that earlier this week, one City Constabulary staff obtained the $1500 fee for plying her trade. The frustrated vendor decried this move, as another staff attached to City Hall would have later informed her of the order to vacate the premises.

Aside from the former ‘Dread Shop’ premises, some vendors have also occupied a small space on the opposite side of the road, in the vicinity of Demico House. It was only Thursday that owner of the Parliament View Mall’s land, Hareshnarine ‘Chiney’ Sugrim, had noted his disdain over City Hall’s supposed violation of a verbal agreement for the vendors to vacate the premises.

Speaking publicly on the matter, Sugrim had disclosed that the first agreement with the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) was that the vendors – who were removed from the Stabroek Market Square – would be allowed to ply their trade on the plot of land until August of 2016, giving the M&CC enough time to find a permanent location for the vendors. However, by August, this situation was unresolved and as such Sugrim stated that he had a verbal agreement with the Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green that he would allow the vendors to stay no later than December 31, 2016.

Sugrim asserted that the M&CC had been utilising his plot of land, and did not have “to pay a dime”. He had noted his intentions to transform the facility into a seven storied parking lot with a food court on the ground floor.

“We want to build a seven storied car park right there. They (M&CC) humbugging the development!” he had noted.

It was during the lead up to Guyana’s Jubilee celebrations that the M&CC initiated its clean-up campaign around the Stabroek Market Square, which included removing vendors from their location, as well as many minibuses from their parking lots. After being ordered out of their spots, many vendors voiced strong complaints to the move. A temporary agreement was then made with Sugrim to loan the City his plot of land to allow the vendors to ply their trade until the M&CC could select a permanent location for them.

“Dread Shop” was dismantled on May 19, 2016

As the deadline for their stay on the plot of land closed in, extensions were granted and finally the vendors had until midnight (Saturday, January 7) to relocate.

However, Chairman of the Market Committee and future Deputy Mayor, Lionel Jaikarran said last week that three areas were suggested to the M&CC during the late October period of last year. However, little or no discussions were made as to which location was selected for the permanent placement of the vendors.

The locations suggested were the old Ferry Stelling, near the Stabroek Market area, Stelling View Mall, known as ‘Donkey City’, and the parking lot of Social Protection Ministry. Last year, despite an injunction, the M&CC in the wee morning hours of May 19 moved in and dismantled ‘Dread Shop’, which was located at Russell Square, Stabroek, Georgetown, a business which had existed for some 48 years. The Council had decried the “unsavoury practices” that occurred there. (Guyana Times)

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